New International Reader's Version

Hosea 4

The Lord Brings Charges Against Israel

1People of Israel, listen to the Lord’s message.
    He is bringing charges
    against you who live in Israel.
He says, “There is no faithfulness
    or love in the land.
    No one recognizes me as God.
People curse one another.
    They tell lies and commit murder.
    They steal and commit adultery.
They break all my laws.
    They keep spilling the blood of other people.
That is why the land is drying up.
    All those who live in it
    are getting weaker and weaker.
The wild animals and the birds in the sky are dying.
    So are the fish in the ocean.

“But you priests should not blame the people.
    You should not find fault with one another.
After all, your people
    could also bring charges against you.
You trip and fall day and night.
    And the prophets fall down along with you.
So I will destroy your nation.
    She is the one who gave birth to you.
My people are destroyed
    because they do not know me.

“You priests have refused to obey me.
    So I will refuse to accept you as my priests.
You have not paid any attention to my law.
    So I will not let your children be my priests.
The more priests there were,
    the more they sinned against me.
    They have traded their glorious God for that shameful god named Baal.
They live off the sins of my people.
    And they want them to keep on sinning.
So here is what I will do.
    I will punish people and priests alike.
I will judge them because of their sinful lives.
    I will pay them back
    for the evil things they have done.

10 “My people will eat.
    But they will not have enough.
They will have sex with prostitutes.
    But they will not have any children.
    That’s because they have deserted me.
They have sex 11 with prostitutes.
    They drink old wine and fresh wine.
Their drinking has destroyed their ability to understand.
12 My people ask a wooden statue of a god for advice.
    They get answers from a stick of wood.
They are as unfaithful as prostitutes.
    They are not faithful to their God.
13 They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops.
    They burn offerings on the hills.
They worship under oak, poplar and terebinth trees.
    The trees provide plenty of shade.
So your daughters become prostitutes.
    And your daughters-in-law commit adultery.

14 “I will not punish your daughters
    when they become prostitutes.
I will not judge your daughters-in-law
    when they commit adultery.
After all, the men themselves have sex with sinful women.
    They offer sacrifices where temple prostitutes earn their living.
    People who can’t understand will be destroyed!

15 “Israel, you are not faithful to me.
    But I do not want Judah to become guilty too.

“My people, do not go to Gilgal to offer sacrifices.
    Do not go up to Bethel to worship other gods.
When you make a promise, do not say,
    ‘You can be sure that the Lord is alive.’
16 The people of Israel are stubborn.
    They are as stubborn as a young cow.
So how can I take care of them
    like lambs in a meadow?
17 The people of Ephraim have joined themselves to other gods.
    And nothing can be done to help them.
18 They continue to be unfaithful to me
    even when their drinks are gone.
    And their rulers love to do shameful things.
19 A windstorm will blow all of them away.
    And their sacrifices will bring shame on them.